Dr Ben Mechen

Dr Ben Mechen

Department of History
Teaching Fellow in Modern British History

Contact details

I am a historian of gender and sexuality with a particular interest in the politics of sexual health, reproduction and pleasure in postwar Britain.

Feedback and office hours

  • Monday 16:00-17:00
  • Wednesday 11:00-12:00

Qualifications

  • PhD History (University College London, 2015)
  • MA History (University College London, 2010)
  • BA History (University College London, 2009)

Biography

I joined the Department of History as a Teaching Fellow in September 2016. Before moving to Birmingham I was a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Boston University (London) and University College London. At the latter, I completed a doctorate exploring how understandings of the “good” heterosexual relationship - and the “healthy” heterosexual subject - changed during Britain’s so-called “Sexual Revolution”.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Why We Hate Politics: Social Activism in Contemporary Britain
  • Of Rice and Men: NGOs and Humanitarianism since 1945
  • Dissertation Supervision
  • Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now: Britain in the 1980s

Research

I am currently working on turning my doctoral research into a book, provisionally entitled Responsible Pleasures: Reframing the Sexual Subject in Seventies Britain. I am also preparing an article on the sexual politics of Alex Comfort’s manual The Joy of Sex and another on the “zoological turn” in postwar popular sexology. A chapter on the changing face of the male reproductive subject, the “Durex man”, is due for publication soon.

I have also begun preliminary research for my next project, a history of pornography in postwar Britain, and in particular the ever-shifting debate about its effects on sexual wellbeing.

Publications

  • ‘“Closer together”: Durex condoms and contraceptive consumerism in 1970s Britain’ in Jennifer Evans and Ciara Meehan (eds.), Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (Basingstoke, 2016).